The Cinematics are one band who you’ll be hearing plenty of in 2006. A four piece from Glasgow via the Scottish highlands, they’re set to become Scotland’s biggest musical export since four men arrived on the scene under the guise of an Archduke. Like many current bands, they’re well dressed and specialise in slightly gloomy, atmospheric and hook filled rock, with influences ranging from The Cure to Talking Heads to The Smashing Pumpkins.
Yet they’re individual enough for their sound to be described as their own, and in lead singer Scott Rinning’s voice which is able to hit notes that you thought only Jeff Buckley could they have a true ace up their sleeve. 2005 has seen them constantly on the road trying to make a name for themselves in the middle of their recent UK tour supporting both Editors and Brendan Benson, musicOMH grabbed the opportunity to catch up with Rinning and lead guitarist Ramsay Miller, one half of one of next year’s great indie rock hopes.
The history of the group dates back to autumn 2003. All band members knew each other from their hometown of Dingwall in the highlands of Scotland, but it wasn’t until a chance meeting in Glasgow that The Cinematics, as we know them today, took shape. “Scott and Ross (Bonney, drums) moved away down to Glasgow for university, then myself and Adam (Geomans, bass) moved down to go to music college, and we kind of met up with Scott, who was busking. The two sides of The Cinematics got together, and we went to a couple of rehearsals, and it turned out well,” explains Miller.
“It’s just chance where good bands turn up” – The Glasgow ‘scene’ is a myth, apparently.
Much interest in their music ensued, and the band eventually went on to sign a record deal with New York based label TVT. “We did a gig for In The City in Manchester, and the head of A&R in New York Lenny Johnson came over, and really liked what he heard,” Miller reveals. “What made us decide with TVT was this one man who owns it, this guy Steve in New York that started up the company for nothing he came over to see us and put on a gig for us, so that really kind of sold it.”
“It was a lot more personal,” interjects Rinning. “They seemed a little bit more eager to have us than the other labels one of them was a major as well. We got the idea with TVT that perhaps they were signing us because they liked us, and wanted to push us and help us progress,” he adds.
The image of Glasgow that’s painted in some parts of the music press, particularly in the post Franz Ferdinand era, is one that’s thriving with exciting new bands – all straight out of art school no less – waiting to burst onto the mainstream. Rinning assures me that they don’t see themselves as part of this, in no uncertain terms: “The media and the A&R people think there’s a scene, but scenes are just ridiculous for anyone with a brain, it just seems obvious that good bands can come from anywhere. It’s not like there’s something in the water that makes everyone turn into brilliant musicians! It’s just chance where good bands turn up,” he asserts.
“I don’t think our music sounds at all the same, really. Apart from we’re all Glaswegians…” – Don’t call them the new Franz…
So labelling them as the ‘new Franz Ferdinand’ would be unwise, I suppose. “I think the only comparison that I can see in our music and theirs is that I occasionally play ‘spiky’ guitars apparently that’s been the adjective to describe mine, and theirs are ‘spiky’ as well,” says Miller.
After giving this some thought, Rinning speculates: “I think it comes from our influences the bands they were listening to and the bands we were listening to maybe have some similarities. But I don’t think our music sounds at all the same, really. Apart from we’re all Glaswegians…and then you can find any reason to say we’re like any other band, like Led Zeppelin, because we’re all humans!”
So who exactly are the bands that have contributed towards The Cinematics sound? “We’ve all got our own influences,” Rinning states, “But the bands I was listening to when I was growing up in high school were The Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead and Jeff Buckley. As you kind of get older you start looking at your older brother’s CD’s, so when I was just leaving high school I was into The Cure, Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen, and stuff like that.”
Indeed, their sound is certainly a diverse one that takes in aspects of all the above. But how would they describe this particular concoction to someone who had never heard them?
“There’s a dancey element from the bass and the drums, because they’re into their dancey type music, and me and Ramsay are into our guitar type bands and singer songwriters like Jeff Buckley, so it’s drums and bass to move the feet and guitars and voice to move the heart!” Rinning suggests. “So it’s dancey but there’s some thought to it as well. There’s something to listen to as well as to dance to,” he concludes.
“It’s drums and bass to move the feet and guitars and voice to move the heart!” – The Cinematics cover all the bases with their music…
As good as this sales pitch sounds, hasn’t this already been done by plenty of other bands before them? Are this bunch actually bringing anything new to the scene? “Yeah,” Rinning suggests. “I think some dancey, emotional music.” “You tend to have one or the other,” offers Miller. “You have your dancey nonsense music and then you’ve got your really deep stuff,” Rinning continues.
“For example, taking Franz Ferdinand I haven’t listened to their new album yet, but there certainly isn’t anything to make you sit down and think. It’s either one way or another, and I think, certainly with some of the songs we’ve got at the moment, there’s a mix,” Miller remarks confidently.
And the response to their music, they inform me, has been quite positive to date: “We’ve got a new website up, and I was looking at the forum the other day the response seems to be quite good,” Miller offers. “With Brendan Benson, they’ve all been quite early shows and there’s not been many people there but they’re usually really quite vocal. We’ve been around enough over the past six months for there to be people to come and see us as well,” Rinning continues.
With their full-length debut out in the spring, combined with more touring, it certainly won’t be too long before this interest escalates. With a self-assurance to rival their most famous Glaswegian acquaintances, a set already full of memorable material, this band certainly have the pedigree to make it to the top. Maybe there is something in the water up there after all